Criteria to Call a Player’s Hand Dead (Article ID 24)
Abstract: If a player exposes tiles and it is obvious that a single tile or pair is needed and based on what has been discarded the hand cannot be completed, another player can call that person’s hand dead.
Question from a player: A player has two exposures on their rack and only one obvious hand could be played. The needed pair is accounted for on the table (three of the tiles is discarded). Can that player be declared dead?
Answer from the NMJL: “A hand is considered dead if the player has too many or too few tiles, incorrect exposures, mah jongg in error, or if a player is playing a hand not on the current card.”
Source: Mah Jongg Made Easy 2020 page 21 #19 [b]
Other answers from the NMJL:
“You should declare a hand dead if from exposures showing on the player’s rack you know what hand they are playing and the needed pair or single tile is shown on the table or in another exposure. The player has to stop picking and discarding.”
“You may declare a player dead if from the exposures showing on their rack and from the discards on the table that the hand cannot be completed with the natural tile or pair of tiles needed.”
“When there are exposures indicating a definite hand is being played, the hand may be declared dead if all the necessary tiles to complete a single tile or pair is shown on the table as discards or in another player’s exposure. The player whose hand is declared dead would discontinue picking and discarding.”
“You could and should declare that player dead if from the exposures showing on their rack and from the discards on the table that the hand cannot be completed with the natural tile or pair of tiles needed. The player who was declared dead ceases to pick and discard.”
Source for other answers: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A (1997 page 6, 1999 page 6, 2000 page 5, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org